Rep. Keith Ellison (R-MN) appeared on CNN’s The Lead Tuesday afternoon to discuss the recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision upholding the Trump administration’s most recent iteration of its controversial travel ban. The discussion, however, veered towards Ellison’s past association with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and it caused Ellison to get extremely defensive over anchor Jake Tapper’s line of questioning.
Tapper noted that Ellison had been decrying President Trump’s bigotry as it related to the travel ban, specifically as it stemmed from Trump’s initial call to ban all Muslims coming into the United States. The CNN host juxtaposed Ellison’s position on the president with the fact that he used to be a follower of Farrakhan, who has expressed extremely bigoted views towards Jews and the LGBT population.
Ellison immediately pushed back, telling Tapper that he would disagree with it coming up “in this context.” When Tapper explained that Farrakhan is clearly a bigot, the Minnesota lawmaker said that he has made himself very clear that he doesn’t support Farrakhan and felt that this was a “false equivalency.”
Ellison also said it was “untrue” that he was once a follower of Farrakhan’s despite the Washington Post giving him Four Pinocchios for previously saying he had no relationship with the Nation of Islam leader.
“It is untrue, Jake,” the DNC Vice Chair exclaimed. “I’m sorry. And I’m disappointed that that is why you called me on your show today.”
The two men continued to go back and forth over Ellison’s past interactions with Farrakhan with the Democratic congressman insisting he was there to “talk about the Muslim ban” and Tapper countering that the line of questioning was relevant.
“You are trying to put me on the spot and it is not fair,” Ellison declared at one point.
As Ellison kept insisting that the Post was incorrect regarding recent meetings he had with Farrakhan, Tapper told him that if he was saying Farrakhan was lying he would take him at his word. “I certainly believe you more than him,” Tapper added.
“Well I hope so,” Ellison responded. “But this is not the first time I’ve denied this and I think you know that.”
“Congressman, it was just a question,” Tapper stated. “You were talking about the bigotry in your view of Trump and the view of the travel ban and I thought it was worth asking about a bigot with whom you used to associate and you have distanced yourself and condemned him since.”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.